Lewis Hamilton and McLaren's former sporting director Dave Ryan refused to change their story about having deliberately let Jarno Trulli through at the Australian Grand Prix, despite being played radio conversations and media interviews that suggested the contrary in their second stewards' hearing at Sepang.
This week's <i>AUTOSPORT</i> reveals that Hamilton and Ryan maintained their stance in that second hearing that Trulli had taken it upon himself to overtake the McLaren in the closing stages of the Melbourne race, even though the stewards presented them with fresh evidence to say they were lying.
In the first detailed account of the stewards' hearings that have resulted in McLaren being called before the FIA's World Motor Sport Council, <i>AUTOSPORT</i> reports that Ryan and Hamilton stuck to their original story when recalled for the second hearing.
An FIA source told <i>AUTOSPORT</i>: "First of all, Lewis heard the radio exchange. It appeared that the strategy was to be extremely vague and not be very direct with the answers. Then the interview where he said, 'I was told to let him through' was played. At that point they both got very uncomfortable, but still denied that's what had actually happened.
"It was a bit surreal, this situation where you had the radio evidence and the interview, and they were putting a completely different interpretation on what the words actually meant. But the words were very, very clear."
FIA race director Charlie Whiting has also revealed that Hamilton denied more than once in the original hearing in Australia that he had let Trulli pass him.
Whiting said: "When asked very clearly, 'Did you consciously let him past, did you pull over to let him past', he [Hamilton] said, 'No'. The question was asked more than once. He was adamant that he hadn't slowed down and hadn't let Trulli past."